How To Live with an Allergy to Soy

Many people have food allergies.  These are becoming more prevalent as more preservatives are added to foods to extend shelf life, and with the inclusion of multiple substances in foods.  Food allergies can vary from mild to severe.  You can be tested for a food allergy by a physician or allergy doctor.  One common food allergy is soy.  Once you are diagnosed, the issue then becomes how to live with an allergy to soy.

You may have symptoms from a soy allergy before you are even diagnosed.  Food allergies can come on suddenly and last for years before being discovered.  Some common symptoms of a soy allergy include nasal congestion, breathing problems, dizziness, runny nose and even diarrhea.  A severe reaction to soy can cause anaphylaxis, which can be fatal.  Fortunately, this reaction is not all that common with soy allergies.

The way to cope with a soy allergy is to avoid all soy-based foods.  If you use margarine you need to switch to butter instead, as margarine contains soy.  You should also eliminate all of the following from your diet:  soy milk, soy cheese, soy sauce, soy flour, soy grits, tofu, textured or hydrolyzed vegetable protein, tempeh, vegetable broth or gum and most processed foods.  Additionally, you will need to read labels more carefully at the grocery store.  Also be careful with canned, packaged and boxed foods.  Many contain preservatives made from soy.

When you eat at a restaurant, make sure you ask if they will use any soy sauce while preparing the dish you order.  Japanese and Chinese restaurants are particularly bad for people with soy allergies.  Never order anything with tamari or teriyaki sauce, or with shoyo.  Soybeans are classified as a legume.  Many times a person with one allergy in the legume family will be allergic to another.  Other legume products include navy and kidney beans, carob, licorice and even peanuts.  Your physician can advise you on this.  Other precautions to take include taking the liquid or gel capsule form of vitamin E; these contain soy.  Also, check your cosmetics and vitamins because soy is used in many commercial products.

Life with a soy allergy does not have to be a miserable experience.  There are many substitutes for soy.  Eating gluten-free products is a safe alternative.  Most grocery stores have health food aisles today.  If not, find a health food store and ask them which items you can substitute for your favorite soy foods.


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